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Saddlebred

Smooth ride

Saddlebred
origin:United States of America
life expectancy:20 to 35 years
scientific name:E. caballus
family:Equidae
height:152 to 163 cm
Temperament: Warmbloodconservation: secureSaddleOlympic Games/Dressage/Show jumpingAgriculture/Ranch
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History [ edit ]

The American Saddlebred was developed in the 18th century by colonialists in America who wanted an all-purpose horse.

The breed developed over the past 200 years through the crossing of gaited (horses with special, smooth movement) breeds like the Narraganset Pacer and the beginnings of several other existing breeds - the Morgan, the Thoroughbred, the Standardbred (the sire of Hambletonian, founding sire of the Standardbred breed, was Mambrino II, also the sire of a Saddlebred family), the Tennessee Walking Horse (again founded from a particular Saddlebred horse) and to a lesser degree the Arabian and many crosses to smaller gaited horses.

Originally called the Saddle Horse, the Saddlebred was used as a utility horse - under saddle and in harness both ploughing and pulling the family buggy, talents that were valued and bred for in these early days were stamina, smooth movement, beauty and ease of riding. Also selectively bred was the horse's natural ability to be gaited - the two extra gaits of the Saddlebred are the rack and the slow gait. Both of these gaits are based loosely on the walk, but at speed. The benefit - a horse that could go as fast as a cantering horse, but with a smooth movement that was very comfortable for the rider.

The Saddle Horse was used as cavalry mounts in the American Civil War and were often favoured over the Thoroughbred as a mount of choice due to their strength, endurance and capacity for long days in the saddle. One reputed story claims that a cavalry section mounted on Saddlebreds, fully packed with rations and the men's equipment, managed to cover 200 miles in 24 hours while fighting and razing four towns in the same period of time.

The Horse Show began to be developed and popular about 100 years ago and the Saddle Horse association was formed at the same time. The official breed type was set and the horses recognised as founding sires voted upon.

The Saddlebred was a beautiful horse and became very popular as a show horse. Originally shown in his natural state, upheaded and with a showy waterfall tail, it became common practise to emulate the best show horses by covering shortfalls in the lesser horses by bracing and setting the tails vertically to replicate the natural, excited look of a horse with a raised tail. It also became practise to raise the horse's head higher and higher until its neck was vertical, of which some horses were better suited to these than others.

This has led to controversy outside the breed with many people condemning those who practise excessive aids and equipment to gain the 'Saddlebred look'. The Saddlebred association recently added an 'unset tail' class to their biggest show of the year - the World's Championship in response to criticism of traditional show practises.
editing: History [ close ]
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Temperament [ edit ]

The Saddlebred is an easy horse to train, obedient and intelligent, however it is somewhat excitable. These horses are very sociable: they like people and like to be touched. The Saddlebred is fast, good jumper and has an extremely comfortable gait.
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Description [ edit ]

The Saddlebred has a strong presence and delicate movements. The head is small with large eyes, ending in two pricked ears. The neck is long, fine and graceful. The body is well-muscled.
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Coloration [ edit ]

All simple colorations are allowed: chestnut, bay, brown, black, grey and also palomino, roan and spotted. The head usually has some white as well as the legs.
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Uses [ edit ]

The Saddlebred is seen as the peacock of show horses. It is usual to see him in jump shows, dressage and all the other Olympic sports.
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Influences [ edit ]

The Narragansett Pacers and the Thoroughbreds are the biggest influences in this breed. The Morgan and the Canadian also gave their contributions to the improvement of the Saddlebred.
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